Chocolate-Raspberry Torte

serves 12-16

For the Cake and Filling

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped fine

12 Tablespoons (6-ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 3/4 cups (about 7-ounces) sliced almonds, lightly toasted and divided

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

5 extra large eggs

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup fresh raspberries, plus 12-16 individual berries for garnish

1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

For the Chocolate Ganache Glaze

5 ounces semisweet chocolate

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon Chambord

For the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Line the bottom of two (9-inch wide by 2-inch high) round cake pans with parchment paper); set aside.

In a large heat-proof bowl, melt chocolate and butter over a bain marie or over a saucepan filled with 1-inch of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in vanilla and espresso powder.

In the bowl of a food processor, process 1 cup of the almonds until finely ground, about 45 seconds.  Add flour and salt and continue to process until combined, about 15 seconds.  Transfer almond-flour mixture to a medium bowl.  Process eggs in now-empty food processor until lightened in color and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes.  With processor running, slowly add sugar until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds.  Using a whisk, gently fold-egg mixture into chocolate mixture and gently whisk until just combined.  Sprinkle in remaining almond-flour and gently whisk until just combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth with a rubber spatula.  Bake until the center is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs still attached, 14-16 minutes.  Transfer cakes to a wire rack and cool completely in the pans, about 30 minutes.  Run a paring knife around the sides of cakes to loosen.  Invert cakes onto cardboard rounds same size as diameter of cake and remove parchment paper.  Using wire rack, re-invert one cake so the top faces up; slide back onto cardboard round.

Place 1/2 cup raspberries in a medium bowl and coarsely mash with a fork.   Stir in raspberry jam just until combined.  Spread raspberry mixture onto cake layer that is top side up.  Top with second cake layer, leaving bottom side up. Transfer assembled, still on cardboard round, to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet.

In a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan filled with 1-inch of simmering water, melt the chocolate, cream, and Chambord, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Remove from the heat and gently whisk until very smooth.  Pour the glaze onto the center of the cake.  Use offset spatula to spread glaze evenly over the top of the cake, letting it flow down the sides.  Spread glaze along the sides of the cake to coat evenly.

Lightly break up the remaining 3/4 cup of almonds into smaller pieces.  Holding the bottom of the cake on the cardboard round with one hand, gently press the almonds onto the sides of the cake with the other hand.  Arrange the raspberries around the circumference.  Refrigerate the cake, still on the rack, until the glaze is set, at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Transfer the cake to a serving platter, slice, and serve.  Enjoy!

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